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Raspberry Pi Zero is a $5 Board Based on Broadcom BCM2835 Processor

November 26th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments
Orange Pi Development Boards

The Raspberry Pi board had some serious competition price-wise with products such as Orange Pi PC, NanoPi, or even C.H.I.P, but the Raspberry Pi foundation has lowered the price barrier even further with the Raspberry Pi Zero board, based on the same processor as the original Raspberry Pi (model 1) boards but clocked at a higher speed, and in a much smaller form factor, and launching at an unbeatable price: $5.

Raspberry_Pi_ZeroRaspberry Pi Zero specifications:

  • Processor – Broadcomm BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 1GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – microSD slot
  • Video Output – mini HDMI port and composite video (via 2 unpopulated  pins)
  • USB – 2x micro USB OTG ports for data and power
  • Expansion – 40-pin through-holes
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Power Consumption – 0.5-0.7W (100-140mA at 5.09V) according to Raspi.TV
  • Dimensions – 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

The board is obviously software compatible with Raspberry Pi Model B/B+ and A+, and it’s a pretty exciting development.

Raspberry_Pi_Zero_Dollar_BillThe board is available in limited supplies in the UK via sites like Element14 or Pimoroni, and in the US via Microcenter and Adafruit. The board is also available for free with the December issue of The MagPi in UK stores.

If you find $5 is just too cheap, or Raspberry Pi Zero is out of stock, or you simply don’t happen to live in the US or UK, you can also fall back to Allwinner R8 based C.H.I.P board that’s available for pre-order on Cyber Monday for $8 + shipping.

  1. devgiant
    November 26th, 2015 at 14:36 | #1

    Isn’t the CPU 700Mhz, Single-core? I’m seeing it on http://pimoroni.com/zero , element14 just states “up to 1Ghz”….

  2. nobe
    November 26th, 2015 at 14:44 | #2

    afaik you can overclock it

  3. November 26th, 2015 at 14:49 | #3

    The one in Pi Zero is running @ 1GHz by default instead of 700 Mhz, so the processor has been slightly improved.

  4. November 26th, 2015 at 15:13 | #4

    Actually Adafruit will also ship internationally.. $5 for the board $12.55 for shipping.

  5. November 26th, 2015 at 15:18 | #5

    Just wait for the Chinese on Aliexpress offering $3-$4 clones with free shipping.

  6. November 26th, 2015 at 15:21 | #6

    Orange Pi Zero? 😉

  7. November 26th, 2015 at 16:46 | #7

    Can you please make a walkthrough(if possible) and adjust this
    to work with orange pi pc etc as orange pi don’t have any spi-bcm2708 or linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev0.0
    I would be tremendous help for the community to use this low cost dev board to save a few hundred/thousand SPI bios chips.
    If possible include the image os used(firmware image).

  8. FransM
    November 26th, 2015 at 17:15 | #8

    I went to the element14 website to see if I could actually order one (although I am not in the US or UK).

    Price: £11.88 (Price is before tax)
    Out of Stock

    They also quote cpc:
    Price: £10.54 (Price is before tax)
    41 ship now

    (link: http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-79263?ICID=hp-pizero-ban, click the buy now button)

    Didn’t know the pound dropped that much against the dollar 😉

    cpc price is including cable bundle, but they give no additional info.

    Pity the thing does not have networking (but of course it can be added over usb)

  9. FransM
    November 26th, 2015 at 17:23 | #9

    actually didn’t read carefully enough, the prices below are including a micro hdmi to hdmi adapter and a Micro USB “On the Go” to USB Adapter.

    pimoroni sells the board alone for four pound and for an additional four pound will ship it to the Netherlands.

  10. November 26th, 2015 at 17:23 | #10

    Element14 is trying to make some money of adapters… They don’t seem to sell the bare board.

  11. FransM
    November 26th, 2015 at 17:24 | #11

    why can’t I edit my post if I notice immediately after sending that I made a mistake

  12. November 26th, 2015 at 17:39 | #12

    Because WordPress does not allow this by default.
    I’ve just enabled a plugin that will allow editing comments for 5 minutes.

  13. tkaiser
    November 26th, 2015 at 18:04 | #13

    LOL, an Ethernet adapter with a know working chipset costs more than the zero, eg. http://aliexpress.com/item/2014-New-5-Pin-Micro-USB-2-0-To-RJ45-LAN-Ethernet-USB-Network-card-Adapter/32251588877.html

  14. milkboy
    November 26th, 2015 at 19:34 | #14

    This is sooner than expected.
    i expected price to go down to sub $10 for many ARM board early nxt yr, starting with strip down RPi to compete with CHIP, then possibly with single core cortex a35s, not this soon. hahahaha…..
    at last price is low enough to do more complex project @ arduino price range

  15. milkboy
    November 26th, 2015 at 19:58 | #15

    i juz read the comments lulz
    got too excited too soon.
    out of stock, expensive shipping, bundled accesories (i have all the accessories needed T~T)
    i still hav to wait till nxt yr for it to be more available, and hopefully unbundled

    i suggest u buy this
    it cost $3 more, and gives u 3port usb hub with lan, also u can use it as a powered usb hub, if u have a power barrel(DC2.5 or DC2.0, cant remember gotta measure it again).
    i use it with a RPi A for 2yrs now

  16. Tim
    November 26th, 2015 at 21:57 | #16

    hmm… Looks like the ODROID-W.

  17. Jon Smirl
    November 26th, 2015 at 23:33 | #17

    This desperately needs an ESP31 on it. It would raise the price by about $1.

  18. Sander
    November 27th, 2015 at 00:53 | #18

    Jon Smirl :
    This desperately needs an ESP31 on it. It would raise the price by about $1.

    ESP31 is the predecessor of the ESP32?

  19. deets
    November 27th, 2015 at 02:34 | #19

    @Jon Smirl
    I’m sure broadcom would love to see a 3rd party WiFi/BT chipset on there.

  20. Jon Smirl
    November 27th, 2015 at 03:30 | #20

    We don’t have all of the details from Espressif yet, but I believe the ESP31 corresponds to the the old ESP8089 and it is designed to be used as a peripheral. ESP32 (which is almost the same silicon) is a standalone SOC (new ESP8266). Since you would be attaching this to the RaspPi CPU you’d want the peripheral version (ESP31).

  21. tkaiser
    November 27th, 2015 at 03:45 | #21

    Thx for the recommendation but in the zero’s case I would prefer Micro USB. And then there are always the same two problems associated: which chipset is used and what about consumption — compare with http://elinux.org/RPi_USB_Ethernet_adapters

    But I’m sure we’ll see a few USB-Wi-Fi adapters with Micro USB rather sooner than later…

  22. Al
    November 27th, 2015 at 03:46 | #22

    Or if your in the US or UK buy a copy of the december magpi magazine and get a free pi zero

  23. milkboy
    November 27th, 2015 at 11:31 | #23

    i juz check mine via usb on ubuntu
    Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0b95:772a ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88772A Fast Ethernet
    it works with RPi and the site says
    “Newlink NLUSB2-ETH USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter. Works out of the box on Raspbian. Detected as ASIX AX88772, asix driver, Max current 250mA. Works without a powered hub or when plugged into an unpowered hub on a Model “A” Pi.”

    i powered it with usb-DC2.5 cable and a usb charger, since i use it with ext hdd
    i cant confirmed if they still sell the same hub thou, since the manufacturer might change the component or seller change supplier without notice,

  24. tkaiser
    November 27th, 2015 at 14:57 | #24

    milkboy :
    since the manufacturer might change the component or seller change supplier without notice,

    Exactly, that’s why I search for the chipset first. If they write “ax88772” then chances you get this chip are a bit better than when relying on older reviews of the device. BTW: I had to learn recently that some features that are considered being “USB 3.0 only” you can also benefit from when using mainline kernel with USB 2.0, eg. UASP: http://linux-sunxi.org/USB/UAS

    Since RPi is going mainline this would be the next thing to try out (UASP and GBit Ethernet). But since all RPi still suffer from their single USB2.0 connection to the outsude there it makes not that much sense

  25. perrodingoo
    November 27th, 2015 at 23:22 | #25

    …Banana Pi Zero

  26. November 28th, 2015 at 15:55 | #26

    I think you just need to recompile your OrangePi kernel, as it is explained here: http://www.orangepi.org/Docs/Kerneldriversporting.html#Porting_SPI_Devices_Driver

  27. Paul
    November 28th, 2015 at 23:13 | #27

    deets :
    @Jon Smirl
    I’m sure broadcom would love to see a 3rd party WiFi/BT chipset on there.

    This post just made my day, thanks for good laugh, deets.

    And there’s no obvious discussion, which is strange: do you guys think this board is subsidized? I of course think it is, but am really surprised there’re retailers which offer board at the raw price of $5. (I couldn’t see raw price for original Pi for about 2 years).

  28. November 29th, 2015 at 00:01 | #28

    It is out of stock everywhere, if you have a link where to order it, I think this is worth a new article, especially for ordering in Europe…

  29. November 29th, 2015 at 07:35 | #29

    Orange Pi One with H3 is coming soon. All in one. The unit price is lower than $10.

  30. Jon Smirl
    November 29th, 2015 at 09:45 | #30


    I don’t think it is subsidized. That CPU/DRAM combo SOC is a $4.00 part (based on prices form other vendors for similar chips). There is nothing on this board that costs much of anything except for the SOC. Maybe 75 cents for the non-SOC stuff and assembly. I’d need more specific BOM info to give a more accurate estimate. I suspect there may even be a little room to give the distributors some margin, maybe 5%, so $4.75 wholesale. I would say it is being sold at variable costs, with no fixed cost recovery.

  31. TC
    November 30th, 2015 at 01:22 | #31

    Steven :
    Orange Pi One with H3 is coming soon. All in one. The unit price is lower than $10.

    that was quick

  32. November 30th, 2015 at 11:40 | #32

    Sure, my rate is $100USD / hour with a 10 hour minimum. 🙂

  33. tkaiser
    November 30th, 2015 at 12:30 | #33

    Would be great if you use the 4 unused contacts inside the Ethernet jack to be used for passive PoE. Simply connect 2 of them to the DCIN test point and the other 2 to GND. Would turn the Orange Pi One into a more useful wired IoT tool.

  34. vaiju
    December 18th, 2015 at 19:30 | #34

    will there be any software support for OPI-PC and OPI+

    or do we have to depend on donations(support) of the community.
    the boards are pretty much useless,
    Please if you dont want to support current boards please dont release the new boards before the previous boards are working SATISFACTORILY

  35. Gabe
    February 22nd, 2016 at 19:58 | #35
  36. J Hughes
    February 29th, 2016 at 21:49 | #36

    Buying this is like buying a car without wheels.

    At least they got the mounting holes in the right places – the corners. BUT why do they need the damn connectors overhanging the edge of the PCB profile (and not included in the dimension specs)?

  37. May 16th, 2016 at 19:25 | #37

    The new version of Raspberry Pi Zero includes a camera connector.

  38. tkaiser
    May 16th, 2016 at 19:57 | #38

    With camera connector now this devices makes some sense. Just checked the price of the special cable necessary to connect the camera modules, availability of Zero Pi (zero as usual), then checked cheapest bundle with bunch of adapters I don’t need and added shipping. Now scratching my head since RPi A+ is less expensive for me (or maybe for anyone outside the UK).

    Thx for the reminder, @lex made some improvements to Orange Pi camera driver recently so time to try this out first before trying to order this zero thingie.

  1. November 26th, 2015 at 23:36 | #1
  2. December 11th, 2015 at 20:45 | #2